What am I Getting Myself Into?

I drove up to Burlington, Vermont a couple of weeks ago to visit some friends, and as Camel’s Hump became visible in the distance, I couldn’t help but feel a little giddy. I’d be on that summit again in a couple of months, this time as part of my first thru hike attempt. But as I followed I-89 south a couple of days later, a little tired, a little hungover, my eyes traced the line of every other mountain I’d have to summit before reaching the Canadian border. There are a lot of them. And I got that familiar feeling in my stomach. What am I getting myself into?

Hi, my name is Kim.

I’m 25 years old, from Western Mass, and this summer, I’ll be hiking the Long Trail northbound with my dog, Chloe.

When I moved to upstate New York after college, just outside of Adirondack State Park, I thought hiking the Long Trail looked fun. Three years, two jobs, and three cross-state moves later, I realized now’s the time.

I went through a pretty big career change at the end of 2020, and when it became clear by March of 2021 that I could continue to support myself for a few more months through gigs like dog sitting and a very short stint as an amateur house painter, I decided to turn my dreaming into planning.

Why the Long Trail?

As for why I chose to hike the Long Trail, it honestly never occurred to me to do another trail. My first experience on the trail was along the ridge of Mount Mansfield. I was visiting Stowe and we drove to the top of the toll road, walking the mile or so left to the summit. I remember Lake Champlain looking like a cloud, and seeing the surrounding mountains for the first time. In the five years since then, I’ve learned the names of many of those mountains and have stumbled my way to the tops of those summits. 

I grew up in New England but really started hiking in the Adirondacks. I spent a summer exploring the park, before moving to Vermont for a year, and New Hampshire the summer after that. So, I think I know how tough the trail will be, but I’ve also learned that the promise of apple cider donuts and a creemee can make you forget about all of the rocks and roots pretty quickly.

Technically I’m not hiking alone.

I almost forgot to mention the most important member of this duo. My four-year-old black lab, Chloe, will be joining me for the hike. I’ve told multiple people on trail that she’s a better hiker than I am, and they laugh. It’s not a joke. She spent the first year and a half of her life training to be a service dog with Guiding Eyes for the Blind before deciding working life wasn’t for her. All that training not only made us a great team, but this girl is not afraid of anything (except for a very specific spot on the LT along the ridge of Mansfield). I’m just hoping her bright orange pack means fewer people will confuse her for a very small, excited bear.

I’m so excited to share our adventure and plenty of puppy pictures with all of you. See you on the trail!

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